Big Pharma Has No Competition in Mexico

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On Wednesday (8/9/17) Mexico’s antitrust body reported that major drug makers including Pfizer Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline have no competition in Mexico from generics that immediately available elsewhere due to regulatory failings. According to Juan Manuel Espino, Cofece’s director of economic studies, the companies have not done anything illegal, there’s just a lack of promotion for generics due to limited competition.

The report, released by Cofece on Wednesday, also reported some of the companies used unnamed legal strategies to stretch drug exclusivity after patents expire. It recommended the government become stricter with rules on issuing secondary patents and actively promotes generic alternatives. Cofece also added the sector may hurt from uncompetitive practices such as “pay-for-delay” arrangements, under which patent holders pay so-called infringers to not challenge patents.

Generics were much slower to penetrate the Mexican market after patents expired on brand name drugs than in Canada and the United States, the report said. Fixing this issue could potentially save Mexican consumers 2.5 billion pesos ($139 million) per year, Cofece reported.

“The cost of medicines for Mexican families is onerous,” Cofece President Alejandra Palacios said at the event in Mexico City.

A Janssen-Cilag SA spokesperson declined to comment until the company had a chance to read the report. Glaxosmithkline and Pfizer referred reporters to Asociación Mexicana de Industrias de Investigación Farmacéutica (AMMIF), a business chamber.

AMIIF reported it was still studying the report and had no immediate comment. None of the other firms identified by Cofece responded to requests for comment.

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